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November 4, 2008 12:50 AM
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iW BOT | Sony Classics Trio Help Lead Out Fall Season

A scene from Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married." Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

The unofficial transition from "Fall" to "Holiday" season happens in the film industry over the next few weeks and specialty distribs react by breaking out their big awards guns, from this month's "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Milk," to December's dozen or so options. But a lucky few will bleed business between seasons and it appears Sony Pictures Classics' promising trio of "Rachel Getting Married," "Synecdoche, New York" and "I've Loved You So Long" are good possibilities to be among them. None of them led the iW BOT this Halloween this weekend though, as that honor went to the debut weekend of Bruce Campbell's My Name is Bruce," which grossed $16,432 from its sole showing at New York's Sunshine Cinema.

The iWBOT is based on per-theater averages reported by Rentrak Theatrical, the complete indieWIRE BOT is available at indieWIRE.com.


Sony Classics' Hat Trick?

In its fifth weekend, Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married" continued its slow expansion, reaching a new peak at 133 screens. It remained in the iW BOT top ten, grossing $711,380 and bringing its total to $3,691,540. Back when the film opened Sony Classics' Michael Barker told indieWIRE that the release strategy will follow previous distrib awards-hopefuls like "Capote. "It will be platform and at some point will go wider," he said. "This movie is going to rely a lot on word of mouth and the reviews and we think it's really going to gather momentum as we go forward. We think it is that kind of a picture."

So far, it has been that kind of picture, at least in terms of box office. Its $5,349 average is just slightly behind "Capote," a film that also had its fifth weekend on the last frame in October. "Capote" grossed $6,647 on 165 screens, and its screen count did not peak until the week of the Oscar nods, when it went to 1,239. Whether "Rachel" can actually maintain its momentum into awards season, especially considering the unusually high number of as-yet-released Oscar hopefuls that could steal its thunder, remains to be seen. It expands to 400 screens this Friday.

But what is certain is that "Rachel"'s distributor has had a very good Fall. Behind "Fireproof," "The Duchess" and "Religulous," "Married" is the fourth highest grossing specialty pic released in September or October, and Sony Classics also has two more latecomers continuing to do good business. In their second weekends, "I've Loved You So Long" and "Synecdoche, New York" held on nicely. "Loved" grew to 20 screens and grossed $121,568 while "Synecdoche" stayed stable at 9, grossing $99,363. Both lost a moderate 40% of their per-theatre averages ($6,078 and $11,040 respectively) as they continue to expand in the coming weeks.

"Bruce," "Broom" Go 1-2

"Synecdoche"'s $11,040 average only placed it third in the iW BOT, behind newcomer "My Name is Bruce" and the second weekend of surprise hit "Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom." "Bruce," directed and starring Bruce Campbell, grossed $16,432 from its sole screen, while "Noah's Arc," the first film released through Logo's distribution arm, saw its average cut in half to a still potent $14,818. "Broom"'s $287,682 total already makes it the highest grossing gay-themed film of 2008 by more than double, and it has not expanded beyond its initial 5 screens yet.

"Bruce," released through Image Entertainment, will expand uniquely in the coming weeks. Campbell himself will tour with the film, offering an introduction and Q&A.

"'My Name is Bruce' doesn't have a standard issue release date because we're doing something for the film that doesn't seem to be done anymore," said Steven DeMille of Image Entertainment. "Campbell is traveling to every opening city to be at the opening theatre for the first night or two. As such, Bruce is working his way across the country between November and December, in a new city every few days. The movie's opening in a given market is predicated on Bruce's travel to that city. As examples, after New York, the film opens in Boston on November 7, in Detroit November 21, in Chicago November 28 and winds up in Los Angeles on December 19. Ultimately, the film will play in about 20 markets."

indieWIRE:BOT tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the indieWIRE Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at studiogrosses@rentrak.com by the end of the day each Monday.

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